On the Job: Daniela Trujillo is Making San Diego More Bike-Friendly
The bicycle advocate coordinator wants to make our streets safer for cyclists
Job: Bicycle Advocate Coordinator
Organization: San Diego County Bicycle Coalition
Before joining the county’s bike coalition, Daniela Trujillo had her reservations about biking. Her partner commuted every day in lanes unprotected from speeding or veering cars, and she feared for his safety from inattentive drivers. But she also began brainstorming solutions. After leaving her job in urban planning, she bought a bike to test the lanes herself and understand the problem. Her new goal? Work with the coalition to make San Diego more bike-friendly.
As bicycle advocate coordinator, Trujillo tackles safety education, infrastructure improvements, and projects that are creating clearer lane barriers through design elements like planters or sculptures. The SDCBC also holds “bike rodeos” at schools around the county to teach the basics of safe riding. “Bicycle riding education should be the norm for schools, just like learning how to multiply,” she says. They also provide courses for adults interested in biking.
It’s in these small, tangible changes that Trujillo sees progress. The major hurdles lie in the reluctance to change existing roads and buildings, she says, and the lack of support from elected officials to get the ball rolling. But for inspiration, she looks to cities like Berlin, which enjoys such political and public support for biking that it’s become just as common as driving. “It’s a way of life there, and I know it can happen here, too.”
An Escondido native, she doesn’t miss the 60-minute commute to the College Area, or as she puts it, “an hour of despair and mental exhaustion.” Traveling nature paths like the San Diego River Trail and Bayshore Bikeway makes for a retreat from the congestion of the freeway. “It’s an overall better quality of life. Not only are those paths protected, they also have a nice view,” she says. “I’d much rather be out biking than sitting in my car stressed in traffic.” But even biking comes with a challenge: hills. “There’s one right before Park Boulevard,” she laughs. “I just have to get off my bike and walk up.”